The Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza witnessed heightened tensions between Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri as the two drivers narrowly avoided a collision during FP3.
Sainz accused Piastri of attempting to have him penalised, leading to a fiery exchange over their team radios.
During the FP3 session on Saturday afternoon, the Spanish driver, Sainz, was on a cool-down lap as he approached the first corner of the circuit.
While navigating the chicane at a reduced speed, he found himself suddenly approached by the McLaren of Oscar Piastri.
Sainz, occupying the racing line, inadvertently forced Piastri to go wide, resulting in a minor contact between their cars at the exit of the chicane. Piastri, who was preparing for his qualifying simulation on a flying lap, voiced his frustration over the radio.
In communication with his race engineer, the 22-year-old Australian exclaimed, “Mate, is Carlos blind or what?”
In response, Sainz questioned Piastri’s intentions, stating, “Piastri on a corner or Piastri pushing?
“He was behind me, and then he tried to overtake me, I don’t know.
“He is doing it on purpose, I think, seeing if I get a penalty.”
However, the race stewards did not share Sainz’s assessment of the incident.
Instead, they issued a black and white flag to the 29-year-old Spaniard for causing a collision with the young Australian rookie.
Fortunately for Sainz, no further penalties were imposed as a result of the altercation.
This incident was not the first time Sainz and Piastri had encountered on-track clashes in recent months.
Prior to the summer break, during the Belgian Grand Prix, the McLaren and Ferrari drivers collided on the opening lap, leading to both cars retiring from the race.
Their history continued at Zandvoort in the rain, where, during qualifying, Sainz narrowly avoided rear-ending the 22-year-old Piastri at the Tarzan corner while both were on intermediate tires.
Despite the turbulent start to their Saturday running, both drivers managed to turn their fortunes around later in the afternoon during qualifying.
Oscar Piastri outperformed his McLaren teammate Lando Norris and the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, securing a remarkable seventh-place finish.
Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz not only outpaced his teammate but also championship leader Max Verstappen, claiming a sensational pole position to the delight of the enthusiastic Tifosi crowd.
Sadly for Sainz, that qualifying success wasn’t converted into the race, as he had to settle for P3 at the chequered flag, succumbing to the dominant Red Bulls.